I’ve been thinking of sharing my experience with the Amazon Fire tablet for some time now, simply because it is a great bargain and perfect for Baby Boomers looking for a low-priced yet highly capable device to enrich their lives. And with a few adjustments, the Fire can be turned into a more generic tablet for hundreds of dollars less than comparable devices!
Let me start by stating that I am NOT a compensated spokesperson for Amazon. I bought my Amazon Fire 8 on sale in July 2017, upgraded to maximum memory (32GB) and added a hard cover. Total price: $124. The same configuration is on sale this Holiday Season for $96. Take my advice and get the $16 hard cover – I drop my tablet all the time and the cover continues to save its life.
Here’s what you get with the Fire 8 (copied straight from the Amazon webpage):
Alexa for voice interaction is included, a nice feature. It also includes a camera and personal video recording. Plus, I’m a big Kindle fan and was pleased to see that after logging into my Amazon account, my new Fire tablet was automatically set for ebook downloads. And I found the Fire easy to set up with my home Wi-Fi and was pleasantly surprised at its lightning-fast performance. After six months of use, I can honestly say the Amazon Fire has proven to be a superb tablet for everyday information access and entertainment activities.
But Wait – There’s More!
Now, here’s what Amazon doesn’t broadcast about the Fire tablet. It has a proprietary front end based on Google’s Android operating system. Hence, with a few steps, you can get rid of any unwanted Amazon stuff and open the tablet up to more conventional tools like Google Chrome, GMail and Play Store applications.
First, use the Amazon proprietary web search tool (“Silk”) to download and set up icons for more familiar (and more useful) Google tools. Go to Google Play Store and install the applications that most of us use in our daily lives, such as the more effective Chrome search engine, Google Maps, Netflix, YouTube, CNN, weather, Google Cloud Print, etc. You can also easily delete any Amazon applications (and icons) you do not want to use on the fire.
To stop the annoying Amazon “push” advertising that comes up on the home screen. Visit www.amazon.com and sign in to your account, then:
- Click the drop-down menu from Your Account and select Manage Your Kindle.
- Click Manage Your Kindles on the left rail.
- Select the device you want to rid of ads.
- Click Edit next to where it reads Subscribed.
It’s petty, but Amazon charges $15 to unsubscribe from their ads on the Fire. They claim the ads help support the low Fire pricing. Personally, I think this will backfire on them big time down the road. For me, it was worth a few dollars to get rid of these annoying ads.
The Bottom line for Baby Boomers
The Amazon Fire is a great tablet that is perfect for everyday use by Baby Boomers. And it is a bargain! I have purchased many tablets over the years and the Fire meets or exceeds the capabilities of much higher-priced devices. For those of you locked into Apple devices, you have my sympathy. The rest of us who can’t afford (or refuse to pay) Apple’s outrageous pricing have found our answer without sacrificing ease-of-use, functionality or performance.